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10/29 - Poster by Nate Duval © Phish 2010. New Jersey Eastern Goldfinch.

10/29 - Poster by Nate Duval © Phish 2010. New Jersey Eastern Goldfinch.

Halloween is my favorite holiday! Hands down!  The creativity, the energy, the raging, the musical performances, the underlying scary vibes. It’s an excellent excuse for a party and that is what most in the music industry believe as well.

Hallorage Time!

Hallowrage Time!

Numerous bands and musicians rage their individual Halloween performances all over the nation and expectations are always high.  For the past few years I have spent Halloween in the mecca of the holiday down in the East Village in New York City.  However, this year I would be following only one band and it would take me out of one city and into another.

Phish. Halloween. Atlantic City. Four words that established one of the most amazing, unpredictable, energy-filled weekends in my musical history.

Atlantic City Skyline!

Atlantic City Skyline!

Let me just list a few things for ya here right quick!

Halloween Weekend in Atlantic City = YOUTH POSSE!!!, The Borgata, Phish @ Boardwalk Hall (3 nights), after show performances by Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe (Friday), Marco Benevento (Sat) and The Heavy Pets (Sun), house parties, 30+ friends gathering from around the NATION, good food at fun restaurants, Casinos, raging Halloween costumes, contests, spa treatments, Led Zeppelin rages, Little Feat rages…and the list goes onnnnnnnnn!

The Departure

I could barely sit still at work. I walked into the Arsenal by 7am just so I could put in a full day of work before leaving at 3pm for one of the greatest rages of the year.  My crew (2 adults and the YOUTH POSSE = four raging HS juniors we were chaperoning for the weekend) gathered up our gear, headed out of our respective homes, jobs or schools and collected at 88th and Madison with fireworks coming out of our ears .

Yukon Denali

Yukon Denali

While most people were taking buses, trains or caravan-ing with their friends, we were riding in style in a big black Yukon Denali arranged through a car service. (THANKS MATTT!!)  The ride to the show was a highlight of the weekend, I must say.  Sitting in a car with our four raging high-school charges, listening to their hilarious conversations, participating in a few and being shocked by others.

It was (and always is) great spending time connecting with our favorite young ragers.  It’s just so humbling to be around these wonderful young adults.  They are smart, funny, well-mannered, sober, non-rebellious, beautifully spirited young adults. They are also members of THOR!  Check it out! They truly give me hope for a future where so many kids their age are little bastards. I’m just saying, I live in NYC.  Most of the kids I see/meet are seriously brats.

The Arrival

The Borgata in all it's purple glory!!

The Borgata in all it's purple glory!!

We debated constantly whether to go to The Borgata, our lovely accommodations for the weekend, first to drop off our belongings or head straight to Boardwalk Hall so we didn’t miss the opener. Luckily, we made it in plenty of time to check in, or so we thought.  As we arrived at the giant purple glowing Borgata, the lines were horrendously long, there were Phish heads scattered around the lobby but not many. Our lodging would be a 5 minute taxi ride from the venue but almost everyone else we knew would be occupying casinos surrounding Boardwalk Hall.

So, we left all our things with the Concierge and would deal with it all after the show. This was a bit of a rush and, of course, we all left things behind.  Most important thing I left: my camera.  GRRRR!!   Alas…so many of the pictures you see throughout this article will be from my friends, other websites, etc.

Will-Call/Entry

I lead the Youth Posse to Will Call to pick up our laminates and tickets for the weekend.  Josh went to the flag poles, which would become the meeting point for everyone all weekend.  While handling the ticket situations, which was quite unorganized, a security guard whispered in my ear about drugs.

“Hey! Ppsstt! You looking for some pot?”

“What? Huh? Nah, I’m sorry. I don’t have any.”

“Nah, Nah! I am looking to sell YOU some!”

“Seriously? You are a security guard and I am here with 3 kids. Back it up homie!”

And with that I turned my back and we were off to the flag poles.  The entire exchange blew me away as I had just read the article about Atlantic City cops going undercover at Phish shows to see what they were up against earlier in the week. Here this guard was, trying to deal. Unreal!

Picture by David Vann (2010)

Picture by David Vann (2010)

I am so thankful I never had to deal with the general population entrance to the show.  The set-up was as disorganized like a five lane highway under construction merging into one, bottle-necking at the mouth of the gate where security guards yelled at everyone to hold up their tickets.  To be clear on the disorganization, I had a friend, with a ticket, who made it in without his ticket being scanned or his person being searched. We miracle someone with it during intermission!!  I later came to read about Phishheads crashing the show on Halloween dressing up as security guards and sneaking in as well.

Phish Atlantic City: Friday (10.29.10)

It was a sold-out show but people were pretty much giving their tickets away Friday night.  The ticket situations are super intricate sometimes. People spending hundreds to get into certain shows, doing things I would never do to see a live performance of a band.

Boardwalk Hall Seating

Boardwalk Hall Seating

Friday: SET I

Picture by David Vann (2010)

Picture by David Vann (2010)

After helping/making sure every one of our friends were taken care of, we finally entered the building. We popped into our seats in Section 103 easily enough, the isles already getting packed.  Within minutes of getting to our seats, the lights dimmed, the band walked out and the weekend had OFFICIALLY begun.

Without a beat, all four Phish members surround a microphone situated at the front of the stage and went into a barber shop quartet-style, acapella Star Spangled Banner.  That is the first time that I had ever seen something of this sort at an event other than a sporting event.  I looked to my right and a MASSIVE American flag was hanging at the end of the venue. I wondered if I would have ever noticed it if we hadn’t sung that song.

Having finally gotten to our seat, the show beginning and everyone situated, I collapsed into my seat.  I was completely exhausted.    The excitement of the week leading up to this adventure, the ride to Atlantic City and finally getting things into place for the weekend.  Man oh man, the weight was lifted and I just collapsed.  I took this time to reflect on the venue.  It was gorgeous.

The inside of the gorgeous Boardwalk Hall

The inside of the gorgeous Boardwalk Hall

The bluesy My Soul started off the music, getting us into our dancing shoes.  AC/DC Bag had me on my toes, thinking of my buddy who had been hoping for the song last weekend in Amherst, Mass. The playful, bouncy melody of Ocelot filled our ears as Trey gave us the usual guitar jam in the middle while Fishman slammed our ears with some high-style drumming. It all just brightened up the room a little bit more.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Sample in a Jar, a personal favorite from my teenage years, played but the whole set was still lying a little flat for me.  I was assuming it was because it was Friday and they were saving their energy for the next tw0 nights.  But then, they released themselves upon us. The highlight of the set, IMHO, Light Up or Leave Me Alone, (a Steve Winwood/Traffic cover), rocked everyone’s heads OFF.  AWESOME cover. With Page on vocals and Trey’s jams, they overly entice us to boogie on down.  Page…oh Page!  I just love you. The lights, as always, amazing.

Sugar Shack and Timber (Jerry) were just ok. I like Timber to a point, the chorus is fun to sing along with and roll your body along to the tune.  It’s a decent song that my friend would call an Intermezzo Phish song, giving the audience time to run to the restroom or the beer tent.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Axilla into Rift highlighted Page on his piano and rocked out Fishman on the drums.  This is such a rager of a duo.  The beginning of Axilla simply throws your body into gyrations and it was around this time I found myself starting to head bang in my seat.  I needed to get out of the confines of these bleachers. Not a big fan of them singing during this song but I LOVE the chorus including the guitar rift and the drumming rages.

That super sped-up Axilla (for which I was front row center). Damn, that was hot. Headbanging at Phish shows isn’t usually the protocol, but I can’t resist Axilla! ~ Karina R.

It’s all about the Rhythm section folks. DAYUM! A funky unfinished The Moma Dance into Cities (a Talking Heads cover) had everyone dancing and singing along. The second highlight of the first set for sure.  Tight, funky and fierce.

Continuing the flow from Cities, they took it right into 46 Days as the set closer.  Great high-energy jamming continued on by Trey, Fishman ripping the drums apart, Page slamming down on the keys and Chris Kuroda‘s lights were SUPERB! It’s absolutely amazing watching a light tech do his job, flowing with the music as if he is an extension of the music himself.  110% love me some Chris Kuroda. This was a great ending to the first set. Some argue, the best jam of the weekend.  I’ll let you decide on that one.

FRIDAY: SET II

I was officially hungry for more. The first set of seven for the weekend had ignited my energy.  Where there was once a tired version of me, there was now a bouncing, giggling girl realizing what the hell was standing in front of her. This is what was surrounding….I mean, come on!

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Magic Key to my Magic Weekend

The Magic Key to my Magic Weekend

I needed some air and to get away from all the smoke during intermission so Josh and I explored, using our laminates to find the best way outside as it was a non-reentry show.  I was so thankful for these wonderful bits of magic around our necks for the weekend. I absolutely needed and was able to utilize the fresh air many times that weekend which enhanced my overall comfort throughout the shows. That was great.

As we returned from the cold night air, we walked around the venue to take in the sights.  People were in costumes, running around like chickens with their heads cut off, standing in beer lines, bathrooms lines or just in piles leaning against the walls with friends escaping the hot, smoky inner belly of the venue.

Having missed most of the piano-heavy Punch You In The Eye, we heard the funk going down in Sand beginning to play, a gorgeous song about what it is like being a piece of sand in an hourglass.  We ran into the closest tunnel that would take us to the song, ending up in the very back of the theater.

Slide and let the silicone
Embrace you as you fall
Then bounce and land you let
Your brothers crush you to the wall

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

The light show was spectacular from back there.  The balls flying throughout the floor were so tiny but the whole scene looked so magnified, I was completely overwhelmed.  Sitting closer to the stage, you loose an ability to fully take in the light show.   You loose the magnitude of the venue because you are not looking behind you. Sometimes, people don’t get to experience the magnitude of the space, the energy backing up on all sides.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Sand segued into an unfinished Carini, a little sloppily but the crowd was so pumped they didn’t seem to mind.  It was a  great light show but I felt like I have heard some cleaner, smoother versions of this song. The energy, however, was relentless.   You’ll wanna check out the lights in the video! 🙂

I was walking down the steps towards the GA Friday night when Sand segued into Carini. It was MADNESS. Some guy through his Philly cheese steak up in the air, and I couldn’t move a foot, as everyone had stepped into the aisle to boogie down. I actually thought it was Zeppelin’s Kashmir for a second…interesting foreshadowing! ~ Karina R.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Mike’s bass dominated my ears during Prince Caspian.  Another favorite of mine albeit a little dull at times.  There so many places this song could go in a jam.  Where as Trey didn’t really bring it home, it was a high energy moment in the venue and it was laid out nicely enough.  The lights, the balloons and balls floating over the audience were stunning.  The taper of the videos I am using was in a great centralized location for this show, right?  Great view! Great videos!

Then a song began that I was unsure of until my friends blasted it out before my mind had time to register it. “Los Lobos?” cried one. “No, it’s not!” cried the other. Coincidentally, both were right.  The Taj Mahal cover Corinna was next but Trey teased When the Circus Comes before the count off that threw my musically knowledgeable friends for a tiny little loop. There were a lot of teases throughout the night which I could have written down but I was having too much fun dancing with my friends!

Corrina is a rarity that they’ve been busting out once a tour since New Years 2009. First night was a great warm-up for what was to come. ~ Erika V.

Piper. I am pretty sure this was my first Piper live and I LOVED it.  The intro was fun and it got fast…quick. They were on it here.  Chris Kuroda‘s lights once again stealing my eyes away from the band.  They blast into hyper drive and Trey’s solo begins.  Page’s keys driving it at times.  One of my favorite songs of this set for sure.  And it went into my second favorite song of the set…..

Right into Theme From the Bottom.  Perhaps not the most well-played song of the night, but Chris Kuroda‘s light work on this song was phenomenal. Making the sea of people on the floor look like an ocean of fun I just wanted to jump into. Blue lights radiating off the walls like waves, I swear my face melted a little bit.  The glow stick war that exploded during the crescendo was a favorite moment to top it all off!  Just a great song that threw me back into the seat of any number of my friend’s  car driving around in the 90’s in high school.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

The face melting continued during Golgi Apparatus.  The energy was lifted up and glow sticks went everywhere during the “ticket stub” line.  And then the slow jam that I was wishing would speed up to keep us raging hyper.  Which eventually, it did.  I loved this song mainly because of it’s lighting effects and the speed at which things can change up.  And there is nothing better when the entire place erupts during a climatic point in the tune.  I SAW YOU WITH A TICKET STUB IN YOUR HAND!!! Glow sticks everywhere.   The lights catching them as they fly into the air.  JOY KILL MOMENT: To the people who throw them UP into the stands…STOP! Unprofessional raging!  Throwing them down is as dangerous as it needs to be.  Projectiles coming AT our faces tend to cause more damage then a few sticks hitting you on the head coming from the stands.  Saw a poor girl get one to the eye during this song.   She was ok, albeit a few tears down, never fear 🙂 Tour kids are tough!

The first half of Slave to the Traffic Light was a bit slow for my taste but the second half…magic. Slow but lovely.  I remember closing my eyes, taking in the energy around me, swaying in tune with my friends surrounding me, the lights slow and soft.  I raised my hands in the air and it felt slightly like a spiritual moment. Uplifting music is all I ever ask for.  Tinkling piano keys brightening up the bass sounds and Trey just raged the song…fully delivering it at the end.

Rocking Fluffhead, but when is it not rocking.  I do feel like I have seen this song performed at every other show I have seen this year but I wasn’t going to complain because it’s fun.  Lovin Cup (a Rolling Stones cover) was delivered as the encore.  This high-impacting song blazed through the arena.  Everyone singing along, jumping everywhere, the floor a massive earthquake.

I just remember hearing ‘loving cup’ for the first time on Friday. This has been one of my favorite Stones songs forever and hearing the guys play it couldn’t help but put a smile on my face. That encore reminded me that Phish is about more than an exploratory jam; a sense of love and happiness was in the air that night. What a beautiful buzz. ~ Matt L.

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Photo by Dave Vann (2010)

Friday definitely got us warmed up for what was in store that weekend. That’s not to say that Axilla and Corinni wasn’t hot, hot, hot. I love a full sound with heavy beats and high energy! ~ J. Bach

Friday’s performance is being greatly over looked by many people I believe. Overall a slow start to a raging weekend, the show blasted us with one hell of set list that brought the energy up just enough to tease us and keep us on our toes for the following night. Of course we would want more energy tomorrow. Of course they would need to bring it tomorrow. Phish knew this and it was nice to see them withhold a few things because what we were about to be delivered the following two nights were beyond anyone’s imagination, predictions and dreams.

Friday started slow but eventually got quite jamming. At the end of the show I leaned over to Isaac and said, that was a tasty appetizer. ~ J. Raskin

Friday Setlist

Set 1: The Star Spangled Banner, My Soul, AC/DC Bag, Ocelot, Sample in a Jar, Light Up Or Leave Me Alone, Sugar Shack, Timber (Jerry) > Bouncing Around the Room, Axilla > Rift, The Moma Dance > Cities > 46 Days

Set 2: Punch You In the Eye > Sand -> Carini > Prince Caspian, Corinna, Piper > Theme From the Bottom > Golgi Apparatus > Slave to the Traffic Light > Fluffhead

E: Loving Cup

DOWNLAODING INFORMATION AS PER PHISH’S FACEBOOK PAGE

Included in the ticket price for each date on Phish’s Fall Tour, is a free MP3 download of the entire show (a fully mixed soundboard recording), redeemable at LivePhish.com. This includes all tickets purchased through Phish Tickets, Ticketmaster, Ticket Horse, and at the venue’s box office.

If you’ve got your tickets in hand, you may redeem your code now at http://www.livephish.com/redeem. Your “code” is the barcode that appears on the tickets. You may upgrade to CD or CD-Quality FLAC or 24 Bit FLAC-HD after you redeem.

Phish’s entire 2010 Fall Tour is available now for download, including their recent Halloween show – with the complete Waiting For Columbus second set – now at LivePhish.com. Included with all downloads is the original Phishbill that was handed out to fans at the begninning of the show.

Please visit http://www.livephish.com/ today.

Borgata Rage & Chris Kuroda

After we were finally ejected from the venue we collected at the Flag poles and delivered the news of the Karl Denson show to anyone who would listen.  No one was going to bed any time soon. The power of the show, even though this was no show stopper, the energy surrounding it, the people, knowing what was in store….We were kids in a candy store. High on life!

We still had not dealt with our luggage and checking into the hotel so we scooped up our Youth Posse and made way for The Borgata in two cabs.  As my crew waited in The Borgata lobby for the second cab to arrive, tour buses began pulling up.   The cute teen couple in my charge stood guessing who’s bus was who.  “It can’t be Trey’s. Trey’s is (insert color here).” or “I think that is Mike’s?”

We ran up to the rooms. They were gorgeous.  Totally jumped on the beds in each room! They were lovely rooms with beautiful views of the city. LOVED the shower! We all got ready for round two  and met in the lobby.

Here comes a super highlight of my night. We reach the lobby and see a friend.  Hugs ensue between everyone and is chatting.  At some point Chris Kuroda has joined the group and we are introduced, again.  Before I register who it is, I go in for the hug I normally give everyone I met and almost get stuck in place. I worship Chris Kuroda. I really do. He is my favorite member of the band.  Pulling away was tough cause I knew I would have to make small talk which is hard for me when I’m standing in front of one of my musical idols. Pulling away was hard enough. I hardly gathered myself but we shared a few words about the light show that evening. My night was officially made.

We jumped back in the taxis and were off to….

Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe@ Trump Plaza

We walked all over Trump Plaza for some tasty Karl Denson, running through casinos, through bars with people in costumes dancing to various styles of music…

OK! This is where I make my first Jam Cruise reference.  I always make one right? Floating around Atlantic City was as close to Jam Cruise as I have found this year aside from Wook the…I mean Rock The Resort.  Running through casinos, restaurants, going from one show to another, stopping in friend’s suites along the way in the various hotels that were pretty much connected, costumes everywhere…the list goes one.

The AC setting is as close to a festival as you can get without actually having a festival. Anything and everything was available to us 24 hours a day. Everywhere I walked, I saw show goers and smiling faces. I can’t stress enough how special it is when so many wonderful, same goal-minded people get together. ~ J. Bach

KDTU! (Picture by I. Sloane)

KDTU! (Picture by I. Sloane)

Karl D! (Photo by J. Raskin)

Karl D! (Photo by J. Raskin)

We got to the show around 1:15 I would say.  It was more empty then I thought it would be.  But, the show had clearly started.  I saw a few tapers in the room and knew I didn’t have to worry anything. I could just enjoy the company of my friends who were, just a few hours earlier,  spread out amongst 14,000 people and who were now all roaming a MUCH smaller space. It was one reunion after the other.

At this point I had been up since 5am Friday morning and was exhausted.  I just let the night flow, not worrying about notes or set lists.  Sadly, the tapers have not loaded their recordings to the web. BOO!!  It was a great show though 🙂

Mellow after such a high energy performance but towards the end Karl had us back on our toes by the time Mighty Rebel was played.  Here are a few videos!  Thank you to the person taking the time to record!!!

Karl Denson’s AfterParty Setlist

Set 1: Turnips, Front Money, Bag O Funk, Look Out, The Answer, Because Of Her Beauty, Soul Driftin’ > Manic Depression, Brother’s Keeper pt.1 > Brother’s Keeper pt.2

Set 2: The Mighty Rebel > reggae jam > Walking On The Moon (one verse), Grenadiers , Chance With You > Hey Jude jam > Chance With You, How Fine Is That, Funky Song, Satisfied, The Bunny Playa

E: Superman Lover, Shake It Out

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Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings (07.27.10)

Speech – Lead vocals
JJ Boogie – Guitar
Montsho Eshe – Vocals and dance
1 Love – Vocals and DJ
Rasadon (aka Don Norris)– Drums
Tasha Larae – Lead Vocals
‘Za – Bassist

Arrested Development Promo shot

Arrested Development Promo shot

There are shows you attend because you want to see remarkable musicians manipulate their instruments and bring innovation and something new to the musical tables. Then there are shows one goes to see to be slammed against the wall with nostalgia. You already know every note, every lyrics and you just want to hear everything familiar.  Tonight, I would be seeing Arrested Development perform at B.B. King’s Blues Club & Grill in Times Square.  Tonight…it was  all about nostalgic progressive hippie-rap.

Buy Storm! Out Now!

Buy Storm! Out Now!

Touring mainly over seas since  getting back together in 2000, Arrested Development hasn’t been in our neck of the words for some time.  However, it didn’t take them long to make their second rounds on the American musical community.  With the release of their new album, Strong, and holding top-10 positions on International music charts, they are proving that a positive message, no matter when delivered, is relevant at any age!

Speech of Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Speech of Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Their albums speak of political issues, ethical dilemmas, they celebrate feminism and masculinity and project mounting peace and love in an overwhelming society fueled by negativity.  My Arrested Development albums were literally some of the first Cds (other then my Grateful Dead Cds) to be played out.  Arrested Development was also my first introduction to hip-hop.  I was immediately listening to beats that I normally would not have been hearing had I only listened to my Grateful Dead or Allman Brothers Band cds.  This was all around 1993 when I was 13 years old so….I heard them, listened to them, and started researching their influences.  I remember being very shocked at the contrast in gansta rap bein’ spit by Dr. Dre vs. the positive lecturing by Speech in the Arrested Development tracks.

One Love of Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

One Love of Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

We walked in during We Rad, We Doin’ It. A harmonic, danceable song with the messages of Peace and Love, with sections of One Love inserting his DJ rapping intelligence in the middle.  With a tambourine and a hard rock guitar throughout, Speech gave us the message: “I Get Up / I Keep Going / I Get Over It.” One song in and the stage was already bouncing and the dance floor was already bumpin’.

Montsho Eshe of Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Montsho Eshe of Arressted Development @ B.B. Kings

And right into what might be my new favorite Arrested Development tune.  The World is Changing. SO HAPPY, motivationally charged in the music, I couldn’t help but just dance all over the front row with the audience.  The members on stage were just as energized.  I was lucky enough to be in standing in front of Montsho Eshe. Upon her introduction, Speech mentioned that she had been with the group since she was 13 years old.  AND HOLY CRAP!  That woman has some dancing raging energy.  With someone dancing in front of you like that, and the bass pumping like that, do you blame me for not taking notes or good videos? See…..

Rasadon of AD @ B.B. Kings

Rasadon of AD @ B.B. Kings

One of the things I noticed immediately was that the front row was filled with drunk young faces.  With my research showing that the average audience age for Arrested Development being in the 21-25, it is clear that they have been rediscovered by the younger generation as I was in my teenage years when they were influencing my life back in the 90’s.  That stat was CLEARLY reflected in the drunk (possibly 21??) sloppies who were falling into themselves, other audience members, the stage and trying with all their might to touch their idols hands and feet.  Luckily, I had an unlucky buffer by way of a 6’2 African American woman who was clearly trying to remain calm and enjoy her show while remaining upright from being drunkenly danced into.  I felt bad for her but happy that they were not bumping into me.

Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

Arrested Development @ B.B. Kings

JJ Boogie of AD @ B.B. Kings

JJ Boogie of AD @ B.B. Kings

The vibrantly dressed group proceeded to play all the wonderful nostalgic tunes I came to see:  Tennessee, Mr Wendal,  People Everyday. The audience continued to shout out the names of these songs until they were played.  From their new album, Strong, they performed We Rad, We Doin’ It, LA LA LA, The World is Changing, Bloody and Haters.

LA LA LA is a more sexy, soulful, loungy songs in the repertoire that incorporates some really great voice manipulations, Afrocentric beats and Speech spittin’ his lyrics.  Bloody gave us a more deep, heavy, reggea-ish vibe fueled by issues of genocide and the deconstruction of souls.   It sounded like a song to march into battle with…Militaristic for a reason, with it’s politically charged lyrics.  I suppose I hit the nail on the head as I have just found the video and see it playing out my description…check out the video…what a message:

The strongly spiritually charged Tennessee, Mr. Wendal and Everyday People just BROUGHT DOWN THE HOUSE.  I was thrown back into high school dances and the entire night was exactly what I wanted and expected.  They presented us with a ton of their new material but also balanced their set list with all the songs that brought us to the stage that night in the first place. If you ever enjoyed their music, check them out.

Arrested Development Tour Dates

Proposed Set list from stage list: Rock Intro, We Rad We Doin’ It, Motivational, LA La La, World is Changing, Fishin’ For Religion, Dawn Of Dreads, Bloody, Easy My Mind, Africa’s Inside Me, Tennessee, Wet Your Voice, Haters, Inner City, Mr. Wendal, Freestyle, I Got the Feelin’, Honeymoon Day, Raining Rev, Redemption, Miracles, I’m Bad, Mama’s, People Everday.

Actual Set list: Rock Intro, We Rad We Doin’ It, The World Is Changing, Fishin’ For Religion, Dawn of Dreads, Bloody, Ease Mind, Africa’s Inside Me, Tennessee,  Wet Your Voice, Haters, Mr. Wendal, Freestyle Drummer rage, Inner City,  Redemption, Mama’s, Everyday People.

Arrested Development YouTube Channel

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Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Rocks Off Cruise Ships

Walking to Boat...

Walking to Boat...

How excited was I?? I had just spent a day at the New Jersey Shore and had come right from the Transit train directly to a boat on the East River to see Cornmeal, a jam-rock-bluegrass band, for the first time.

I had been hearing of this band for MONTHS!!!  Nothing but great things.  Once it was announced that they would be performing on Jam Cruise 9 I knew I had to check them out.  Even better, I had never been on Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines so this was going to be a night of many firsts.

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

The Marco Polo Cruise Line

Not 24 hours earlier, Cornmeal had played for 15,000+ people at the All Good Music Festival in Masontown, West Virginia. And now here they were playing for us…maybe 75 people?  Quite a drastic change.

Foooooood.....

Foooooood.....

Rocks Off Concert Cruise Lines Series is a groups of various sized ships that leave from either the East or West sides of Manhattan and travel up and down the East River or Hudson River while a band performs in the belly of the boat.

More food...

More food...

Upon entering the ships, you are immediately in the “Hospitality” area which held the bar and food.  It is cash only so be prepared…I was not.   There were empanada, turkey wraps, rice, pasta and salad.  The women working behind the counter were cheerful and bright.  When I went to take their picture one of them ran away.   I didn’t have anything to eat but my friends did munch on some empanadas.  They were not that impressed but it served it’s purpose.

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

Hanging with Chris prior to show...

One of the positives that was made clear right off the bat is the fact that the space is so intimate that the band members were mingling all around us.  This allowed for numerous conversations, introductions and commotion between all of us.  One of the other positives is that I felt like I was on a mini Jam Cruise for a night.  It was lovely.

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager :)

Allie Kral and Tiny Rager 🙂

The staff was more pleasant and accommodating. First of all, the drinks are $8 and I only had $7.  The bartender was like, “Oh, that is fine. I will make you a drink anyway.”  That drink was soooooooo strong, my girlfriend kept telling me to go get more Cranberry in my Vodka Cranberry.

Another great staff moment, the intern who was running the merchandise table agreed to let me put my traveling bags behind her table so long as she wasn’t responsible for them.  This was perfect since I had just come off the train from the beach and wasn’t able to drop my things off at home first.  Finally, there is parking all around the docks but you can also reach the boats by all forms of public transportation.

Stage prior to show...

Stage prior to show...

Luckily for those of us in attendance, the weather was cooperating with a light breeze and low humidity.  Unfortunately, I didn’t really feel much circulation within the belly of the boat where the band performs and found myself constantly having to leave the stage area to get some air outside on the bow of the boat.

Cornmeal

Introducing Cornmeal...

Introducing Cornmeal...

“Wavy” Dave Burlingame – Banjo,Vocals
Kris Nowak – Guitar,Vocals
Chris Gangi – String Bass, Vocals
JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals
Allie Kral – Fiddle, Vocals

Noted as a Bluegrass Jam band out of Chicago, Illinois, I knew that I was going to like their sound.  I was just hoping they were as tight and off the hook as I had been told.  They blew me away immediately, effortlessly sliding between the two styles and by the end of their first song, Heaven on Time, I was singing their praises.

Took off down the East River

Took off down the East River

The first set was 45 minutes. During that time, the boat left port and traveled down the East River towards the Statue of Liberty.  Aside from the heat, it was difficult to focus on the band as we traveled due to the lovely scenery catching my eye out all the windows.  Just a beautiful backdrop for a lovely night of music.  How had I never been on these boats before?  What the hell had kept me away so long?

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

With the banjo and the stand up bass driving the bluegrass vibe, Johnny Put Down Your Gun was next.  A wonderful jammy tune about a renegade.  We all got a little bit of Johnny in us I think.

Johnny was born in old Kentuck
High in the hills of Northern Boone
Folks been sayin’ since he’s a baby
Johnny was born to break the rules

Traveling down the East River

Traveling down the East River

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

There was numerous times that I felt I heard horns.  Perhaps it was my state of mind and my constant want to hear horns in any group. Instead, Cornmeal uses numerous pedals and contraptions to create distinct sounds that otherwise their instruments wouldn’t make without help.  Kris Nowak in particular made his guitar sound lovely morphing between jamming out and the bluegrass measures.  Chris Gang proceeded to tell us how this is their 10th year playing together and how proud they are of this accomplishment.  We all cheered and I wondered how I had never heard of them until this year.

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal aboard Rocks Off Cruise

JP Nowak – Drums, Vocals

JP Nowak (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

During Long Hard Road, we came around Battery Park and idled at the tip of Manhattan.  I couldn’t help but be a little overwhelmed. There we were, floating in a boat only a few hundred yards away from the Statue of Liberty.  These moments are never wasted on me and at that moment, everyone was on the bow of the ship taking in the scenic views.  From the stage I heard: “We are going to take a short break now and come enjoy the view with yall.”    And then Cornmeal was by my side, taking pictures with my friends, holding conversations with everyone.  What a great thing.

More views of the East River...

More views of the East River...

The boat itself is very liberal with what they allow to go on.  Watching the band try to keep their balance was quite entertaining.  Attempting to stand myself was difficult and I wasn’t drinking. You can imagine how tipsy the other patrons on the boat were who were imbibing heavily.  On the other hand, tonight, there were numerous Wharf Rats on the ship.  Wharf Rats is a twelve-step program which met at shows and helps people stay sober.  On such a small boat, I felt a little bad partaking in my festivities around them.

And she sings too...

And she sings too...

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Kris Nowak-Guitar,Vocals

Over the years, I have enjoyed the friendships of numerous Wharf Rats (or other various sober organizational members) who understand we are not all sober and that some of us still party…I like to call it “Raging Responsibly”.  Tonight, there were a few people who seemed to be all out MEAN to those of us enjoying ourselves.  I was shocked.  One girl was complete pissing and moaning about not being able to drink while another one verbally voiced her disgust when people lit up.  I find that completely uncalled for, personally.  No one was blowing cigarette smoke in anyone’s face or anything.  Peopel were being

I found out later that Cornmeal took home a Jammy Award in 2008 for Best New Groove.  This makes complete sense.  The artists that comprise this band are technically charged and brilliant.  Let’s talk about these amazing musicians.

Allie Kral of Cornmeal on Rocks Off

Allie Kral (Photo credit: Courtney Astrid Mendenhall)

First I have to go with the female of the band. The fiddle player, Allie Kral.  ALLIE KRAL!!  WHAT???  WHAT???  Are you kidding me?  I have never seen a female violinist’s arm move so fast. I have never been so captivated by a female violinist so fast.  It can genuinely be feared that her arm might fly right out of the socket and knock my ass out.  She is phenomenal.  Her speed is riveting, her precision of sound is right on point.

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

The view from the boat...I need a better camera

Then you have “Wavy” Dave Burlingame, the banjo player.  Oh man, where do I being?  He was incredible as well.  Flashes of Bela and others came to mind with this guy’s work.  I wish I could describe the sounds.  With his laid-back vibe radiating off his posture, his fingers flew over the strings to create a integral sound for the group.

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

Kris Nowak & “Wavy” Dave Burlingame

During intermission, I was introduced to the Railroad Earth sound guy.  I completely forgot his name but his face is so unique I will most certainly be able to pick him out of a crowd if we ever cross paths again.  There was lots of talk of Jam Cruise being that Cornmeal was on the boat this year and even more talk about how people get on the boat working under a band.

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Cornmeal on Rocks Off Cruise

Set List!!

Set List!!

For the encore, Cornmeal RAGED the Allman Brother‘s Whipping Post at some point.  That might have been my favorite song of the night.  I mean, they really really crushed this cover jamming at times and raging their bluegrass vibe as Allie Kral’s arm moved over the strings so fast I could not even consider getting a clear shot of her.

The entire vibe of the night was perfection. The weather was flawless, the scenery was gorgeous, the music was the best of both worlds…WE WERE ON A BOAT!! A GREAT date night adventure if you ask my opinion. Get on it guys…

Set I: Heaven on Time, Johnny, Pennies in the River, Dig A Hole, On My Own, Long Hard Road

Set II: River Gap, Calling Me Back Home, Not At Home Anymore, Walk (Don’t Look Back),

Encore: Molly & T, Whipping Post

Rocks Off Cruise Pictures

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Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl (06.08.10)

Artist: DAVID WELKER

Artist: DAVID WELKER

Patiently waiting to be played...

Patiently waiting to be played...

Another wonderful night of music at the Brooklyn Bowl.  Having just seen Les Claypool at Mountain Jam just two days earlier, I knew I would be seeing a lot of the same set list/performance.  However, to me, the beauty about a Les Claypool‘s show is that even though his set list remains the same, his sounds and interpretations of his owns songs stretch beyond his own imagination.  He brings a lighter version of a dark sound to my ears, brings some freaky humor to my eyes and pushes the boundaries of his own music. There are people who will argue that Les Claypool brings innovations to  almost every performance while others feels that it’s “the same old  thing.”  I am a believer in the first opinion. And this show was particularly amazing.  I ADORE Les Claypool.

Stage, Pre-Show

Stage, Pre-Show

Les Claypool is widely known as the bass player from the 90’s group Primus.    If that doesn’t ring a bell, then perhaps you know the South Park Theme? That is Primus!  Fungi is just one of the many projects that Les Claypool entertains.  These days, Claypool is dabbling with his solo creations – specifically  the album “Of Fungi and Foe.”

The   Brooklyn Bowl - Bowling Lanes shot

The Brooklyn Bowl - Bowling Lanes shot

The Brooklyn Bowl was the PERFECT spot for this performance.  Having been forced to see Les Claypool at Terminal 5 last year, I could go on forever on the positives of the Bowl.  First of all, OVER 21 ONLY!  Last year, my friends and I attended the Terminal 5 show, an under 21 venue.  Yall know the front row is our spot.  Within minutes of the show starting the mosh pitting was so far out of control that not only myself, but my other taller, larger friends were having to be pulled out of the front row over the banister before we got crushed.  It was horrible.  This spectacle is an unfortunate addition to a Claypool show because his younger followers just don’t understand what they are listening to.

One of my FAVORITE Ragers: les Claypool!

One of my FAVORITE bass Ragers: Les Claypool!

Please, let me be very clear.  Les Claypool HATES mosh-pitters, thrash dancing or any other general moronic moves that would interfere with the rest of this fans enjoying his show.  He makes numerous points to stop his show, in mid-song, to point out the needless act of mosh-pitting and is comical yet obviously serious in his deliveries to the audience.  Keep reading to see what he did to “Mr. Bald Man” during the show!

THE HOT HEAD SHOW

Jordan Copeland – Guitar and Monologues
Vaughn Stokes – Bass
Maxwell  “Betamax” Hallett – Drums

The Hot Head Show

The Hot Head Show

The opener of the show was Hot Head Show, a trio from London, England.    The lead guitarist is actually the son of The Police drummer, Stewart Copeland and Curved Air‘s Sonja  Kristina.  It is a wonder that Les Claypool doesn’t understand the crowd’s reactions to his music when he invites  groups like this to open for his show.  Personally, this was just a loud 30 minute mess used to get us rowdy.  There was a pretty bass solo at one point but other wise the music was a headache.  An utter headache.  After reading about them, their reviews are actually positive and were even billed as “the best band you have never heard of.”  UGH! I am sorry but I really hate being screamed at by a band on stage.  I felt like they were unstructured and wild at first but came to realize that is their style.  A style I am not fond of but go check them out and make your own decision.

Les Claypool’s Fungi

Les Claypool – Bass & Whamola
Mike Dillon – Xylophone & percussion
Sam Bass – Electric chello
Paulo Baldi – drums

Sam Bass on Cello @ Brooklyn Bowl

Sam Bass on Cello @ Brooklyn Bowl

Coming out to the stage, Les Claypool’s face was the only one not covered by masks that covered everything but their mouths.  It’s quite odd and just what  I expect from my #1 Quirk.

The first song out the hatch was Highball with the Devil.  With the swipes of his bass, Claypool immediately struck us with the familiar tune and his signature sound.  This song always makes me think of an army marching and his lyrics are them chanting.

Come the morning
We’ll be waiting
and weilding the power
to paralyze
So we state now
for the records
you brought this upon you
Paralyze, agonize, terrorize

There was beautiful cello play in here by Sam Bass on his electric cello.  I feel a cello, such a classical instrument, brings an interesting layer to this kind of music that seems rather naughty and hard. Being that it was electric makes it a perfect pairing.  Then you had Mike  Dillon who wasted no time busting out a Xylophone solo while using four mallets.  All the while, Claypool whomped on his bass bringing us that menacing tune with his cartoony voice singing the lyrics.  And so it began…..

Mike Dillon and Paulo Baldi

Mike Dillon and Paulo Baldi

Through monstrous applause, Claypool immediately went into Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread which brought in chunky strings with Sam Bass on his cello.  I really love the use of strings in Les Claypool’s music.  Such a pretty cello and Claypool’s bass was seductive.  There was a bit of drum banter here between Mike  Dillon and Paulo Baldi.  And boy, it sure didn’t take long for Claypool to have to give his speech.

Sam Bass and Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

Sam Bass and Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

The banter between the instruments on a Claypool stage is awesome.  As Les was building into the song, he leaned over to the mic and in his   cartoon-y voice exclaims, “We are playing in a blowing alley” and he changes to the electric bass for Amanitas.  But before getting stared Claypool exclaims:

Sorry, just checking the score board over here. Seein what kinda action we got goin’.  Think I might put a little money down…that guy Germ has a…he’s up right now…got a little thing going on over there. ALRIGHT JIM!  Let’s see what you got…

This song reminds me of a sick version of Teddy Bears Have a Picnic. You know the kids song? Or perhaps The Wizard of Oz when the army is like “yo-hoo, yo-hoo.” There was a great drum rage by Paulo Baldi here.  Claypool did his little dance where we fast walks in a circle a few times while playing. The cello on this song is drawing, like it’s calling something out.  Mike   Dillon‘s percussion rage with xylophone was awesome.  And about three minutes into the song, Claypool has to have a talk with  Mr. Bald Guy. Luckily, someone got it on camera so I don’t have to type  it all out…


My favorite song to sing of Claypool’s is David Makalaster. A song about television newscaster but that speaks a strong message.  Just one of my favorite songs because it’s such a raw, funky song and yet it has a fun, feisty message against what some might feel is a harsh tune.  There is generally always a sing along when the chorus is sung.

Isn’t it awfully nice
To live in a world
where everything’s exactly how it seems?
We live in a world
where all you have to do is sit around and dream
About the things that make you happy
about the things that make you smile
Sit back, relax, apathy’s back in style

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

Paulo Baldi @ Brooklyn Bowl

A typical move in the set list, they went right into Southbound Pachyderm which totally makes me think about James Bond at times. Perhaps this song should be used to open a James Bond movie. They opened for South Park so… It was during this song that I noticed that a cymbal or two was broken on Mike Dillon’s rig.  Most definitely not a mistake.  During Bass’s cello solo, he raged his solo to the highest note before a few strings broke.  And it was back into the end of David Makalaster.

Bringing in his upright bass, he took one pluck of the instrument and brought out his bow. Always changing it up. Intermittently using the bow and his fingers, Red State Girl was next.   Dillion was on a pair of tiny bongos and at some point Sara Palin was mentioned.  They all played with their pedals at the end of this song makes those unusual sounds we come to hear at these shows.

Les Claypool & Mike Dillon

Les Claypool & Mike Dillon

As Claypool leaves the stage, Precipitation begun with Baldi‘s drums.  And then out walks a pig.  Claypool in one of his many masks.  Still on the upright, Les continued to use the bow to make and otherwise classically played instrument sound like a moaning bear before Dillon responds with his mallets. Claypool taps his bass with the bow making a lovely and specific sound to entertain the songs melody.

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool @ The Brooklyn Bowl

And then we were given the drummer rage.  Always one of my favorite parts of any musical night.  Dillon went crazy on everything he had around him.  He rubbed a metal can on the inside with his fingers.  There was an insane xylophone rage. Check it out…

And then Claypool left the stage again and the drums raged for a good 5 minutes. I had a great video of this and all three times I have tried to upload it, it has failed.  Sadly…

RAGER!!!

RAGER!!!

AWESOME!

AWESOME!

Then out walks a monkey.  Literally walking with his knuckles dragging on the ground.  Claypool in another one of his many personae.  I wonder if his masks get names.  He picks up a long piece of wood with a piano string attached at the top and a handle at the top.  I think it’s called a level and a pickup?  Correct me if I am wrong.  Luckily, this video uploaded:

Booneville Stomp ushered in the Les and his Bas Dorbo, a beautiful piece of wood with a metal plate for a front.  Claypool’s unique voice .  The beat reminded of galloping horses and one by one each instrument joined the race and they were just hitting the same beat and crescendo-ing until they came to a fast STOP.  AHHHHH! Claypool screamed a few things and the crowd screamed.  Mike Dillon wasn’t hitting anything at this point.  He was dancing all around his rig the entire time. When he did finally play, his mallet when flying out of his hand and he didn’t miss a bet before grabbing another one.

Les Claypool and Mike Dillon @ Brooklyn Bowl

Les Claypool and Mike Dillon @ Brooklyn Bowl

Nice shoes...no?

Nice shoes...no?

One Better / The Awakening / One Better brought it back to the electric bass with the signature thump and pluck.  And once again, a gorgeous cello.  Claypool pulled a few more of those wicked dance moves of his circling on the rug.  Two strings on stage: a cello and a bass. Two sets of percussion on stage: drums and a xylophone.  No guitars and no keys yet represented by the instruments on stage.  It’s just an odd combination of instruments that create such an odd combination of sound that makes these songs so damn unique.  It creates the ability to also work with and around what he has always created to bring new things to the songs each show.  Once an innovator, always an innovator.  Dillon took this time to dance as well….check it out…

Riddles Are Abound Tonight was great because it was on my friend’s wish list to be played.  Claypool danced around a ton during this song and everyone sang along at times.  Sam Bass truly brought it during this song.  Just a great composition by Claypool.  Each person took their turn giving us their best solo.

After the encore break, Claypool approached the mic and proceeds to tell us the next song, a Rush Cover song called Spirit of the Radio, would be an obscure “Sly and the  Family Stone tune.”

“You know, this one’s for all the babes.  Because that is what really counts in life.  ANd this is an obsure Sly and the Family Stone song.  Kinda takes me back to the Oakland sounds…that Oakland Soooouuuul sound.  And a lot of people didn’t know this is a Sly and the Family but it actually is. And if you don’t believe me you can Wikipedia it because Wikipedia is the only true source of accurate information that we have on this planet today. “

Another show down… My year is not complete unless I see Les Claypool in some capacity at least once. Twice within a week was heaven to my ears and excitement to my eyes.  Another great show 🙂

Set List: Highball with the Devil, Duchess And The Proverbial Mind Spread, Amanitas, David Makalaster I>, Southbound Pachyderm>, David Makalaster I, Red State Girl, Precipitation, Jam/Drums, Booneville Stomp, One Better / The Awakening / One Better, Riddles Are Abound Tonight, [encore break], The Spirit Of Radio (Rush)

DownloadLes Claypool’s Fungi @ The Brooklyn Bowl (06.08.10)

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Some Cat From Japan & East Coast Jam Cruise Reunion

@ Brooklyn Bowl (06.03.10)

I had originally intended to attend the Trombone Shorty & Michael Franti show at Governor’s Island with the NYC Funk Live Krewe but two things drew me to The Brooklyn Bowl this night:

  1. The event was playing host to a Jam Cruise East Coast Reunion Party
  2. Some Cat From Japan was opening for Galactic and I loves me some Will Bernard (and the rest of the members)

When I arrive, the venue is scarce as it always is around 8pm.  Ron Johnson spots me from stage: “Karen, can you take some pictures for me please?”  Damn right Ron, my pleasure!  To my left, my buddy is setting up his taping equipment.  Always a positive thing.

Some Cat From Japan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Some Cat From Japan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

So, who loves Jimi Hendrix?  Better yet, WHO DOESN’T love them some Jimi Hendrix?  Some Cat From Japan is a power house lineup that explores the music of Hendrix through their own interpretations.  Boy, I tell ya! For a group that doesn’t rehearse and mixes up its lineup, they are better then real good.  I will let you go check out the backgrounds of these guys…go now. Here they are:

Will Bernard (Guitar)

Ron Johnson (Bass)

Scott Metzger (Guitar)

Jason Crosby (B3 Keyboard player and violinist )

Eric Bolivar (Drummer)

Jason Crosby and Will Bernard @ Brookly Bowl

Jason Crosby and Will Bernard @ Brooklyn Bowl

The show was slated to start at 8pm and it totally did.  Numerous friends were “late” as a result and were not happy.  These shows never start on time.  But with Galactic coming on at 9:15 and Quest Love dj’ing the 11:30 late night set, things were sticking to schedule.  Galactic did, after all, have two more nights to rage.

I am not a fan of cover bands.  Period.  In this case, there are cover bands and then there is Some Cat From Japan.  Man, we were specifically there to see THEM.  To see a band comprised of exquisite musicians who have the talent, technique, and personal love for the music, developed from childhood, that allows for them to deliver a  show complimenting Jimi’s music through a completely interpretive approach.  The approach…to just play and rage it.   They just get up there and have a damn good time playing  the music from one of their own inspirations.  It’s a beautiful thing to watch.

Some Cat From Japan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Some Cat From Japan @ The Brooklyn Bowl

Tonight, Jason Crosby would be playing keys in place of Nigel Hall who was busy touring with The Derek Trucks and Susan Tedeschi Band.  Jason would also be bringing us the element of a violin to the mix.  So lovely.

Set List: Freak Out ~ Who Knows ~ Manic Depression ~ Freedom ~ Little Wing ~ Crosstown Traffic ~ Spanish Castle ~ Freak Out

Eric Bolivar @ Brooklyn Bowl

Eric Bolivar @ Brooklyn Bowl

Probably the only warm up they had attempted all day, they raged on stage for awhile.  Just getting their flow.  Honestly, they could have done this all night and I would have been cool with it.  But then it was right into Who Knows! with the strum of Will’s strings announcing the familiar melody. YES!!  Just a hard rock song that made you want to head bang or something.  I have no idea, I just wanted to smile.  I knew that much.  Bernard got his first rage in right away while Bolivar slammed out the beat and Johnson‘s bass reminded us of the melody. Crosby‘s keys and Metzger‘s accompaniment twinkled behind the other instruments.  It was Who Knows but it was their own song.  Ragers.

Jason Crosby @ Brooklyn Bowl

Jason Crosby @ Brooklyn Bowl

During Manic Depression, Eric Bolivar took a SICK drum solo…one of the only notes I wrote down about the show.  I got my first taste of Jason on violin as he gave us a GORGEOUS rendition/breakdown where the keys solo might have been.  I wondered if there was a violinist out there who might have put out a Jimi cover cd.  Answer after looking…nope.  Hmmmm….someone needs to get on that.  I am thinking Lili Haydn.  Mmmm, mmmm, good!

Will Bernard @ Brooklyn Bowl

Will Bernard @ Brooklyn Bowl

Bernard took his liberties straying away from the formula of every song.  Seriously, boys and their toy RAGING.  As I write this, all I want to do is write each of the artists and ask them what their first Hendrix memory was.  Shoot, for many artists, hearing a Hendrix tune WAS the reason they played, regardless of instrument…just that they wanted to make MUSIC!  Hendrix had the influence and power to move every man on that stage.  That is pretty intense.  I wondered if these musicians realized that there were fans in their audience who would be covering their songs in the future with as much passion as they were tonight for Jimi.  It was a great rage on stage that night for sure.

Scott Metzger @ Brooklyn Bowl

Scott Metzger @ Brooklyn Bowl

Crosstown Traffic meant time to move around.  I ran into Annabelle, aka Julie McCoy, as she shouted, “HEY! NICE SHIRT!!  I had, of course, worn my Jam Cruise paraphernalia.  On stage, everyone’s fingers flying a mile a minute with the whine of the guitars screaming through the lanes. It sounded ridiculous as I was summonsed to the Jam Cruise table to gather my Street Team gear for Mountain Jam.  Woohoo!  I got my “Ask Me About Jam Cruise” shirt. You know how happy that makes me?  And during Mountain Jam, you know how many people asked me about Jam Cruise when I wore it the last day? ZERO!  LOL…they couldn’t get past “Ask Me” is my guess…love it!

Some Cat From Japan @ Brooklyn Bowl

Some Cat From Japan @ Brooklyn Bowl

Little Wing slowed down the rage into a sexy sway of the hips.  Crosby turned to the violin again, so very pretty!  The rest of the stage filled in a beautiful backdrop.  There were fun pulls of strings.  This might have been the point when Will bent down and fiddled with all of his equipment and knobs but I could be wrong.  I do wish  could have gotten to the review sooner, as getting to it a few weeks later, behind other shows in my mind, has clouded my memory.  But the beauty of my life is that I shall see them again soooooooooo soon 🙂  And the recording will come out even sooner!

Annabelle and Ron Johnson @ Brooklyn Bowl

Annabelle and Ron Johnson @ Brooklyn Bowl

Spanish Castle was supposed to close out their set but having too much fun up there, the time had flown by and they had run out.  I literally felt like they were up there for 5 minutes but we had been given a good 45 minutes of solid FUN!  And guess what friends…I surround myself with musically knowledgeable people who’s opinions I greatly respect.  The following day was Mountain Jam and even with an entire weekend of utterly amazing music, there was speculation that the Some Cat From Japan set was one of the best all weekend.  I can’t say that, but I can certainly understand where those statements came from.  This show was incredible and I can’t wait to finally hear it again.

After the show, I lingered for the usual goodbyes.  Ron Johnson came into the audience and thanked me for taking pictures for him.  What a sweetheart!  Some artists really do appreciate the fans.  And I hope they forever know how much I appreciate them.

And now…It was time for Galactic

Corey Henry, Cyril Neville and Ben Ellman of Galactic! (06.03.10)

Corey Henry, Cyril Neville and Ben Ellman of Galactic @ Brooklyn Bowl! (06.03.10)

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June 2010 Potential Show Run Down

June 2010 Potential Show Run Down

(If there is ANYTHING that I have missed that must not be missed, please point it out as this is updated daily things constantly.)

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010:

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio w/Clay Ross @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($10 w/ 2 Drink min) Jason Lindner Trio w/Mark Guiliana @ Zinc Bar
  • ($45-$85) Reggie Watts w/ Conan O’Brien @ Radio City Music Hall

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010:

  • ($10 w/ 2 Drink min) Jason Lindner Trio @ Zinc Bar
  • ($25-$45) Lisa Loeb @ City Winery
  • ($29.50) Toots & the Maytals @ B.B. Kings
  • ($45-$85) Reggie Watts w/ Conan O’Brien @ Radio City Music Hall

Thursday, June 3rd, 2010:

  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –> Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernad Project) opening for Galactic (Jam Cruise Reunion Party)
  • ($15) Eli “Paperboy” Reed & True Loves @ Mercury Lounge
  • ($32-$35) Dark Star Orchestra @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • ($30-$35) Anders Osborne / Tab Benoit @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($35) Michael Franti & Spearheads & Trombone Shorty @ Govenor’s Island
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note
  • ($150) Patti LaBelle @ B.B. King Blues Club
  • ($??) Eldar @ Iridium Jazz Club

Friday, June 4th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam IV Music Festival, NY ~ Day I
  • (Free) Von Ghost @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –>
    • Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernard Project) opening for Galactic
  • ($25) The Return of George Porter Jr. & Runnin Pardners/ Papa Grows Funk @ Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)
  • ($35-$60) Drive By Truckers & Jamie McLean @ Tarrytown Music Hall
  • ($36/SOLD OUT) RJD2, Pretty Lights, Chiddy Bang @ Terminal 5
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note
  • ($??) Eldar @ Iridium Jazz Club

Saturday, June 5th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam Music Festival, NY ~ Day II
  • 12th Annual Star Scape Music Festival, MD
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (Free) Underground Horns @ The Shrine
  • ($15) Galactic Feat. Corey Henry w/ Sp. Guest Corey Glover of Living Colour@ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live) –> Some Cat From Japan (A Will Bernard Project) opening for Galactic
  • ($30) Martin Sexton, Ryan Montbleau Band @ Nokia Theater Times Square
  • ($36.50 – $40) Southside Johnny And The Asbury Jukes @ B.B. Kings
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note

Sunday, June 6th, 2010:

  • Mountain Jam Music Festival, NY ~ Day III
  • ($18-$25) Holmes Brothers @ City Winery
  • ($40-$30) Dee Dee Bridgewater: Tribute to Billie Holiday @ The Blue Note

Monday, June 7th, 2010:

  • (Free) Fela! On Broadway Original Cast Recording Release Party @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($30) Brand New Heavies feat. N’Dea Davenport @ Highline Ballroom

Tuesday, June 8th, 2010:

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010:

  • ($3 suggested) Norah Jones @ Prospect Park Bandshell
  • (Free) Phish on Late Night with Jimmy Falon
  • (Entered a contest but found no price) Jeff Beck – A Tribute To Les Paul @ Iridium Jazz Club
  • ($10-$15) Trouble & Bass @ Santos House Party
  • ($16-$18) Easy Star All-Stars @ Highline Ballroom
  • ($20-$25) An Evening With Eric Lindell (Album Release Party) @ Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)

Thursday, June 10th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival
  • (Free) Sarah Mclachlan on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon
  • ($15-$20) Orchard Lounge @ Higher Nubela @ Club Love
  • ($20-$25) Evening with Eric Krasno & Chapter 2 @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($20) Jamie Lidell w/ Alex B. @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg
  • ($20-$30) Duncan Sheik & Holly Brook @ City Winery
  • ($35 for each set) Jorma Kaukonen of Hot Tuna @ Iridium Jazz Club

Friday, June 11th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • (Free) Allison Moorer on Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($5) Rotary Downs, The Pimps Of Joytime, Big Light @ Brooklyn Bowl (Funk Live)
  • ($25) David Allan Coe @ Music Hall of Williamsburg
  • ($25) The Budos Band @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise (The Temptress) (7pm-11pm)
    • ($25-$30) Rubblebucket @ Rocks Off Cruises (The Temptress) (11pm-4am)
  • ($25-$80) Jethro Tull w/ Procol Harum @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($30-$45) Leo Kottke @ City Winery

Saturday, June 12th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • ($20-$25) NYC Undead Jazzfest (2 Nights, 3 Venues, 30 Bands)
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem @12:30 (late night show)
  • (Girls free/$5) Higher Nebulae @ The Delancy (11pm-1145pm)
  • ($3) Allen Toussaint and Davell Crawford @ The Prospect Park Bandhshell
  • ($10) Will Bernard @ The Blue Note @ 12:30pm (late night show)
  • ($25) Grace Potter & The Nocturnals @ Webster Hall
  • ($30-$35) Leo Kottke @ City Winery

Sunday, June 13th, 2010:

  • Bonnaroo Music Festival (Manchester, TN)
  • Reggae On The Road (Lighting Ridge Park, NY)
  • ($20-$25) NYC Undead Jazzfest (2 Nights, 3 Venues, 30 Bands)
  • ($??) Undead Jazzfest w/ Mark Guiliana @ Sullivan Hall
  • ($7)  Afro Funky Party w/ Zongo Junction, Top Shotta & DJ Offbeat @ Cameo Gallery

Monday, June 14th, 2010:

  • (Free) Baaba Maal, Playing For Change @ Summerstage
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big band @ The Jazz Standard

Tuesday, June 15th, 2010:

  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($30) John Butler Trio, State Radio, Angus and Julia Stone & State Radio @ Summerstage
  • ($40-$155) Carole King / James Taylor – Troubadour Reunion @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($15) The Roots @ Highline Ballroom (this is weird online)

Wednesday, June 16th, 2010:

  • ($5) Chico Mann @ Santos House Party
  • ($25) Mary Gauthier @ Joe’s Pub (NolaFolk)
  • ($40-$155) Carole King / James Taylor – Troubadour Reunion @ Radio City Music Hall
  • ($50) Larry Graham + Central Station (S&TFS) @ B.B. Kings

Thursday, June 17th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Taylor Carson @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($??) Mark Guiliana @ 55 Bar
  • (??) Gent Treadly @ Flannery’s Irish Pub (called everywhere looking for price)
  • ($10-$12) Apollo Run @ The Studio @ Webster Hall
  • ($5) The Lee Boys @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($13) The London Souls @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($20-$25) Tony Allen at Le Poisson Rouge (Funk Live)
  • ($25-$30)  Railroad Earth @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($40 – $90) Keith Jarrett Trio, Jack DeJohnette, Gary Peacock @ Carnegie Hall (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • ($59.90-$99.50) New Kids on the Block @ Radio City Music Hall

Friday, June 18th, 2010:

Saturday, June 19th, 2010:

  • PHISH @ SPAC!!!
  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem (12:pm – late night show)
  • (Free) Apollo Run @ Central Park’s Bandshell
  • (Free) Mike Stern Trio – Bitches Brew Revisited @ Prospect Park Bandshell
  • ($10) The McLovin’s @ Sullivan Hall (@9:30pm)
  • ($10) Sullivan Hall Shakedown @ Sullivan Hall (@12:30am)
    • Featuring Monchan, Chris Hall and DJ Nutritious w/ percussion by Steven Chopeck w/ visuals by Mamiko Kuchida plus special guest ElaNEF
  • ($12) Eli “Paperboy” Reed  @ The Bellhouse
    • Justin Townes Earle (opening for Eli Reed) @ The Bell House
  • ($12-$15)  Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey @ 92Y Tribeca
  • ($20) Black Dynamite Sound Orchestra @ Southpaw
  • ($59.90-$99.50) New Kids on the Block @ Radio City Music Hall

Sunday, June 20th, 2010:

Monday, June 21th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • Make Music New York ALL DAY FUNK FEST! (Funk Live)
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) The Mingus Big band @ The Jazz Standard
  • ($15) The Roots @ Highline Ballroom (this is odd online)

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • (Free) Trombone Shorty and Orleans Avenue @ Late Show with David Letterman
  • ($25) Marcus Miller feat. Christian Scott: The Music of Miles Davis @ Highline Ballroom

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010:

Thursday, June 24th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • Funk Fest 6 at Sullivan Hall (Funk Live)
  • ($10-$85) Blues Summit: James Cotton & Friends feat. Taj Mahal, Hubert Sumlin, Pinetop Perkins, Willie “Big Eyes” Smith, Shemekia Copeland, Darrell Nulisch, David Maxwell @ Jazz at Lincoln Center
  • ($15) The New Deal @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • ($15) The Late Night Jam Sessions @ City Winery (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • (Unknown) Chico Man @ El Museo del Barrio
  • ($20 ) Giant Panda Guerilla Dub Squad @ Rocks Off Cruise (The Half Moon)
  • (Unknown) Victor Wooten @ BAM Rhythm and Blues Festival
  • ($32.50-$38) En Vogue @ B.B. Kings
  • ($35-$105) Herbie Hancock @ Carnegie Hall (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
    • Special guests Terence Blanchard, Ron Carter, Bill Cosby, Dave Holland, Joe Lovano, Wallace Roney, Wayne Shorter, plus other artists to be announced

Friday, June 25th, 2010:

  • Phish @ Susquahana Bank Center, Camen, NJ
  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Soul Cycle @ Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • ($10 – $15) Jason Lindner Trio @ The Jazz Gallery (Part of CareFusion Jazz Festival New York)
  • ($15) Harlem Stride: Henry Butler (NolaJazz), Osmany Paredes @ Harlem Stage Gatehouse
  • ($15) The Sam Kininger Band @ The Blue Note
  • ($35) Al Di Meola @ Highline Ballroom (YES!! YES!! YES!!)
  • ($98) Chuck Berry @ B.B. King Blues Club
  • ($41.50 – $156.50) Maxwell & Jill Scott @ MSG

Saturday, June 26th, 2010:

  • CareFusion Jazz Festival New York
  • (Free) Common & Soulive @ Fort Greene Music Fest 2010
  • (Free) West African Band @ St. Nicks, Harlem
  • (Free) Tinariwen & Toubab Krewe @ Central Park Summerstage
  • ($10) Reckoning @ Sullivan Hall (A post Furthur show playing music of the Dead, Phish and more…)
  • ($39.50) Furthur @ MCU Park
    • Featuring Phil Lesh, Bob Weir, Jeff Chimenti, John Kadlecik, Jay Lane & Joe Russo
  • ($30- $385) Yes! & Peter Frampton @ Nikon at Jones Beach Theater
  • ($41.50 – $156.50) Maxwell & Jill Scott @ MSG

Sunday, June 27th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center
  • ($39.50) Furthur @ MCU Park
  • ($15) Elvis Perkins in Dearland @ Newtown Barge Park (1pm show)

Monday, June 28th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center

Tuesday, June 29th, 2010:

  • NASFT Fancy Food Shows @ Javit Center
  • (Free) Dred Scott Trio @ Rockwood Music Hall
  • ($8-$15 + 1 drink min.) Jim Campilongo Electric Trio (w/ Stephan Crump and Tony Mason) @ The Living Room
  • ($25) Robert Randolph @ Bowery Ballroom
  • ($35-$65) Alejandro Escovedo @ City Winery
  • (Sold Out) Passion Pit @ Prospect Park Bandshell

Wednesday, June 30th, 2010:

  • ($25) New Mastersounds @ Rocks Off Concert Cruise Aboard The Temptress
  • ($35) Passion Pit @ Govenor’s Island, NY
  • ($39.50 – $154.50) James Taylor & Carole King @ Madison Square Garden

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Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

(179 McDougal Street)

(w/ Higher Nebulae, D.V.S., & Orchard Lounge)

Show Pamplet

Show Pamplet

In my mind, I consider myself just beginning to learn about (and possibly appreciate) these late night NYC music scenes.  A scene where the music doesn’t start until 11:00pm, maybe.  A scene where, unless you asked for help, you can’t find the door to the establishment, a scene hidden under the bowels of the city streets.   I normally rage a live concert where the doors open at 6pm and the show start at 8pm.  And THEN, if I have the energy (if?…who are we kidding?), I end up in a dark and grimy basement venue for the remainder of the night.  Most of the time it’s because a friend has talked me into raging harder and not because I feel as though there will be true talent on a stage.  To me, these are the times to mingle and dance till your a puddle of water on the floor.  I have no idea what is going on music wise as…how do I put this….it doesn’t register to me as live music.  It just doesn’t.

Rage Equipment!

Rage Equipment!

Dj-ing is clearly an art.  Sampling music, producing sounds, splicing tunes, putting them back together like a puzzle.  I get it.  I can see the DJs gears working in my mind’s eye when I hear some of the get-down beats we dance too.  And when they rage, I stop dancing and I embrace the lift in the room’s energy, nodding my head in recognition that they just mixed a dope track that got the floor jumpin’.  So, I love it, don’t get me wrong.  I do dance into a puddle and I have fun but it’s not the same thing if it’s just a person and their turntables.  It doesn’t drag me in and make my jaw drop.

Now, take that atmosphere, with that talented puzzle maker and throw in a live instrument.  Like Break Science who has Adam Deitch on the drums bringing forth that extra layer that makes it intoxicating, or The Sullivan Street Shakedown, which combines DJs with numerous live instruments rotated each month.  It lies in the fact that it’s alive to me at that moment.  It’s organic.  I can see it being created.  Tonight, I would be enjoying the performance of Jeff Bujak and he brought me exactly what I needed to have my jaw drop.

Rage equipment!

Rage equipment!

The show was held at Club Love.  Never having been before, I immediately was drawn to the name, wondering what it must look like.  I imagined it being dimly lit, a loungy-vibe with bright tones like purples, yellows and reds.  Slightly Disco-esque with plush couches and anything you would find in a Austin Powers movie.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

With no sign to the establishment and the entrance being a door hidden by on of those large gate walls that businesses pull down when they close up shop, I only knew I was in the right spot thanks to the store owners around the area.  The show was to start at 10pm but I don’t think the doors even opened until 11pm.  I went across the street for a beer with the three other people foolish enough to come so early…see, I am still learning.

Rage Equipment!

Rage Equipment!

Upon entering Love, you head down the stairs into a dark, concrete floored, cavern-like basement and are forced either left or right.  If you choose right, you are met with the room that would be throwing us the get down grinds.  Probably holds about 250 (??) comfortably, one wall had bench style seating but that was it.  This was a room for dancing.  Period. There was a bar set up with caution tape around it, I assumed to give the waitress some room?  Flat out, not cool waitress.  I bought a $7 beer, gave her a $10 and she just ran with it.  When I asked her for my change, she was like “What? You want me to give you back 2 bucks?”  First of all, take a math course and Poor Service!!!  Seriously? Does it matter?  I used to be a waitress and I was a friggen princess even when I wanted to kill someone.  I will NEVER get used to the poor customer service practices in New York City.  There is TRULY nothing comparable in terms of shitty attitude .  Needless to say,  I was not amused.

Dancing and Hula Hooping

Dancing and Hula Hooping

There was no “stage” per say, just a portion of the floor that had been utilized for the equipment.  As well, there was an elevated portion that held the DJs booth.  I got to be sadly honest and admit that the front of the DJ booth was so high, I could barely see the tops of the DJ’s heads, let alone see them do their thing.  That made me sad.  But I am sure the rest of the world saw the Dj’s as they are all over 5 foot zero!!

If you took a left from Love’s entrance, you are taken to the restrooms, another bar and a separate room that looks cave-ish, like the walls were made of crappy styrafrom, the other walls were glass so that the patrons in the room were viewable from the bar area.  This room was for those who might need to take a rest from the intensity in the other room.  It is small but with stadium seating, more like concrete stairs.  It’s always good to have one of these rooms to retreat into when you have partied to hard.

Higher Nebulae started the night off with some dirty dance beats. There was some gospel layers and rock layers all with some deep whoomping bass.  When the bass beats were dropped we were given some familiar rock favorites and unexpected old school gems such as Metallica‘s “For Whom The Bell Tolls.”

D.V.S.

D.V.S.

Like I said, it’s hard for me to focus on the music when it’s just the DJs so I was wondering around trying to catch a buzz with the $10 beer in hand and attempting to get in the right frame of mind to dance into that puddle I was talking about.  The Banana Mafia was out in full force greeting what appeared to be half the venue who had come under his list.  He brought the energy, he brought in the dancers.  I appreciated that!  However, this Mafia member was without his Banana Suit?  Is that even allowed?  Am I supposed to be outing him over the internet?  Opps.  Either way, he raged all over that dance floor, as well as his friends, and we all had a blast together!!

D.V.S. was up next, his real name being Derek VanScoten.  Where as Jeff Bujak uses a piano to layer on top of his electronic beats, D.V.S. uses a Telecaster guitar.  I stopped my mingling and started focusing on D.V.S..  His music mixed Hip-hop, Soul and even Motown.  He sampled Jimi Hendrix‘s “Foxy Lady” and raged a great guitar during his samples.  He has recently toured as a solo artist supporting Ana Sia, Big Gigantic, Beats Antique, Boombox, Lynx & Janover, JFJO, and M80 Dubstation.  Honestly, not sure if I cared for him that much.  It didn’t do anything for me.

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Let’s talk about Jeff Bujak, the man of the hour!  Duuuuude.  Having just discovered him earlier this summer at Rock The Resort, I was VERY eager to see him again live.  Jeff Bujak is a true musician.  A truly technically talented piano player who, from the moment I stepped foot into his performance at RTR, has had me hooked.  To me, when I listen to his music at home, Jeff reminds me of a mix between Tori Amos and Bruce Hornsby. I could come up with a ton of combination but seriously, his music is beautiful and quirky and demanding with organized chaos and it is all his own! He has coined his music “Intelligent Dance Music.”  Intriguing, no?

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff comes armed with everything needed to run his one-man show including light, sound, and smoke.  Cables and pedals everywhere, there is a laptop, a sound deck and his dual level keyboard at the helm of his personal electronic monster.  There is a row of lights above his left shoulder flashing us the light show in various colors and mixed to rage with the beat. His shoes were off and the show began.

The set list:

SET 1
Utopia > Kicker > Crowd > Machinist > Slimmy > Cascadation > Sunny’s Song* > PUTV > Mutator

* written by Benevento-Russo Duo (section of)

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Utopia got it started with a synthesizer drop and a deep beat. Very quickly the layering of faster beats were released and right away it was a dance party.  His songs have catchy samples, this one, sampling Cake’s The Distance by using the lyrics “Reluctantly crouched at the starting line…”  After a while, amid the heavy beat of smashing cymbals, I feel a reggae vibe that quickly turns back into a deep electronic beat.

Kicker into Crowd brought us the classical, straight out gorgeous technical chamber piano skills that I adore him for.  These gorgeous notes layer over the rest of the dance worthy beats.  They are hit hard, there are sounds of electric guitars playing but I know that is Bujak manipulating the keys.  The sequenced drum loops made it sound like the drummer was in the room with us at times.  Then we got a little more of the pure keys, nothing manipulated, just beautiful piano sounds.  It’s a gorgeous mixture of electronic and organic.  I mean, there is just GORGEOUS composition amongst his hectic beats.

So, being that I am a romantic female, I found it to be just lovely music and I was pleased to see mainly men in that basement dancing.  In reality, I wondered if these wookies heard what I heard.  They were certainly dancing to the beats but I wonder if they realized just how good he sounded in that basement.  Club Love is rumored as having one of the best sound systems, so perhaps that helped.  There are parts of the songs that got so slow and so sensual.  Preferring to be a stand alone dancer at most shows I attend, it was my pleasure to dance intelligently with some dudes that night to this intelligent music.  A real pleasure. 😉

The music pierced my ear drums and so my ear plugs remained in the entire night.  I love my ear plugs because they helps break down the sounds and I can hear the music very clearly.  I recognized that I was in a grimy basement but being raised on Broadway shows and Classical theater and concerts, I was able to close my eyes and get thrown into the plush seats I imagined earlier.   The raging beats faded away and all I could hear was the gorgeous classical technical training he was throwing at us.

The music sounded like this (around 5:15ish mins he busts out the chamber piano):

But my mind would shut out parts and I would just hear something that sounded like this, beats faded away…just gorgeous:

Machinist is a song that amuses me. I imagine being at an Insane Clown Posse  or 311 show raging out and then Jeff layers some beautiful unmanipulated organized piano playing over it.  That is what does it for me.  I know I always say I love my horns, but I grew up listening to my father plays his piano every night after dinner while I cleared the table and did the dishes.  This fact also makes me overly critical towards keys players and I don’t have a single negative thing to say about Jeff’s work. It was a complete package, a complete pleasure.

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Jeff Bujak @ Club Love

Slimmy was mainly a synthesizer song and pretty sure I heard some Michael Jackson‘s “Thriller” in the mix.  It was HEAVY, deep, and a raging dance song.  This producer/composer really does delivers a vibrant sound so full of melodic energy it stirs even the most timid of dancers. No one was sitting. I make my way up to Jeff’s side, watching him play…oh the essence of a musician when they are in the zone.  Sometimes I swear can feel their energy radiate off them.  It’s what brings tears to my eyes sometimes.  We stand in the audience in love with these musician’s music but what we have to remember is they either love or hate what they are playing as well and you can fell it, you can see it.  The lights and the music and the venue were helping big time.  It was so beautiful and overwhelming.  One man was making all this happen.

I stepped outside for an adventure during Cascadation so I can’t tell you anything about that song. That is one you will just have to go and see to experience 🙂  I came back in towards the end of Sunny’s Song, partially written by Benevento-Russo Duo. Pretty, melodic, slower then the rest.  PUTV gave us a manipulated synthed start to the song with samplings from Eric B. & Rakim’s “Pump Up The Volume” gently layered on top of the rest of the tune.  He goes back and forth between the manipulated sounds and the organic sound the ivories make.  Again, the looped drum beats are stellar and fast forcing Bujak’s fingers to go full blast.

Mutator was last for the evening. To be honest, I wasn’t sure when one song ended or began.  My notes are full of lines where I believe one ends and another beings, arrows shooting up the page because I felt as if he had gone from one song to another and back again, not sure.  Sometimes it was clear and other times it was so well-played that if the change occurred, I had no clue where it was.

Here is the video I took of Jeff @ Club Love…sorry for the sound quality. I had my ear plugs in and it sounded GORGEOUS and crisp in my ear…you get the point 🙂

Orchard Lounge raged our faces off for the rest of the evening but I will have to review them another time.  Jeff was what had brought me here tonight. I had come with the intentions of leaving after Jeff’s set but there was NO WAY. Not only was I one of the first people to arrive that night, I ended up being one of the last people to leave.  Jeff hung out a bit and, when we weren’t dancing, I wandered with my dance partner, getting in to trouble here and there, totally full of energy.  It was a great night and all thank to Jeff….thanks Buj 🙂  Be sure to check out Jeff Bujak’s newest full-length released on Harmonized Records:  “Alive Like the Spine

And as I hit PUBLISH, the irony is not lost on me as I listen to my neighbor begin giving one of her lovely piano lessons…..life is magnificent!

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